25 Jan 2010

TV channels in Venezuela shutdown

11:21 am on 25 January 2010

The Venezuelan government has taken six cable television channels off the air for not transmitting government material.

The BBC reports RCTV International, which is openly opposed to President Hugo Chavez, is one of those affected.

On Saturday, the government had ordered the privately owned station to televise a government message, but the channel refused to comply.

Last week RCTV and 23 other cable channels, was redefined by the government as a national, rather than international broadcaster.

They are now expected to carry presidential addresses and government campaign material in what is an election year in Venezuela.

Opposition groups accuse Mr Chavez of trying to control the media and prevent coverage of political discontent.

RCTV moved to cable in 2007 after the government refused to renew its terrestrial licence.